The Witches' God
The Evolution of Wiccan Gods Through History
Silver Chalice E-zine ~ Book Review

The Witches' God, by Janet and Stewart Farrar, is an excellent introduction to the basic Wiccan god-archetypes.

The Farrars' research is strong and lucid, and their perspective refreshingly free of proselytizing. Yet it manages to be an easy read. It kept me turning the pages, even though I wasn't planning to read the whole thing.

Although I different from the Farrars in my Wiccan practice and perspective, I consider The Witches' God to be an essential part of any Witch's library.

And here's why....

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The Wiccan God Archetypes

The book is divided into 3 sections, plus an appendix.

Part 1 of The Witches' God explores the archetypal gods common to Wicca, and most other Pagan religions. For example,

  • The Son/Lover

  • The Sun God

  • The Vegetation / Green God

  • The Horned God

  • The Oak King & the Holly King

  • The Underworld God, etc.

Plus there are Recipes for the God, including incense, foods, and drink.

The Witches' God offers an intriguing journey through the evolution of the gods, in the context of the changing values of human history.

The Farrars demonstrate how the face of the divine to which we (as humans) relate, changes as the human community grows.

Other Wiccan Books by Janet & Stewart Farrar


Invoking the Gods

Part 2 of The Witches' God focuses on specific Gods you are very likely to find in Wiccan rituals, such as...

  • Pan

  • Osiris

  • Tammuz

  • Shiva

  • Zeus, etc.
Each God here has his own chapter, and the Farrars include a ritual to each that a coven can perform.

I'm not sure how they chose certain Gods over others. Why Shiva and not Krishna, for instance? Why not Buddha or Adonis or Mercury? Interestingly, the Farrars overlook Mithra, a major Pagan deity who predated and strongly rivaled Christianity for centuries.

Even though The Witches' God overlooks some of the more commonly seen Wiccan gods, the ones shown here are well-developed and useful.


Gods of the World... from AAH to ZU

Part 3 is perhaps the best part, and worth the price of the book all on its own. In 100 pages, The Witches' God introduces Gods from around the world and throughout time.

By my estimate, there are close to 2000 gods in this deity directory, with brief outlines of each.

It won't give you everything you need to know about all of the gods -- that kind of book would be an encyclopedia. But it gives a basic introduction, so you'll know who you'll want to research.


A Circle-Casting Ritual

The appendix of the book leads you through a sample of casting and banishing a Circle.

For those who are interested in a Gardnerian approach to Wicca, the given rituals and instructions will be appreciated.

Other Wiccans will value this book as an encyclopedic introduction to the Wiccan Gods.


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Excerpts from The Witches' God


In the pagan cosmic view, the supreme creative polarity is that of the Goddess and God principles, for without polarity, from divinity downwards, there can be no manifestation.

These are the two complementary terminals of the cosmic battery at all levels; without their creative difference, no current flows.

…The main flaw in patriarchal thinking [is that] for Polarity it has substituted Dualism; for the creative complementarity of God and Goddess it has substituted the confrontation of God and Devil, of Good and Evil.

Even the God has suffered [under patriarchal domination], for without his complement he is emasculated, his image distorted and impoverished.

In the end we are all tuning into the same source. Magical or religious practice is a communion with the reality which lies behind such god-forms, which are tuning signals to aspects of that reality.

The Horned God was a vivid expression of the son/lover of Mother Earth -- swift-moving, wide-roaming, concupiscent, respectfully killed to feed her other creatures and yet eternally reappearing as strong and splendid as ever.

Agriculture and social complexity did not push him aside, because mankind knew instinctively that, without the raw force of Nature underlying them, crops and community alike would wither and die.

This instinctive attitude to horns as a symbol survived, for example, among the ancient Hebrews. Few people realize, till it is pointed out to them, that throughout the Old Testament horns are a symbol of God-given power.

-- The Witches' God: Lord of the Dance, Janet and Stewart Farrar. 1989, Phoenix Publishing (WA), ISBN 13: 978-0919345478, ISBN 10: 0919345476. (All bold text, my emphasis.)

Rating for The Witches' God: 4 Stars

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With Bright Blessings,

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